Perth Fashion Festival launch their 20th outing

Perth MLA John Carey launched the 2018 Telstra Perth Fashion Festival this morning imploring people to get behind the annual event.

Speaking to the assembled social influencers, fashion lovers and media who had gathered for the launch at the new QT Hotel on Murray Street, Carey said it was up to everyone to ensure that the city’s premiere fashion festival was a success.

Quoting drag star RuPaul, Carey chanted “You better werk!” to the audience. “You better werk to sell this event, to sell our city, to sell everything that is great about fashion in Western Australia.”

Carey said the festival brought a great economic activation to the city and would help tackle the problem of high vacancy rates in the city centre.

“We still have vacancy rates at 20% of our buildings, we have to do more for street activation, cut red tape, get more foot traffic, get more activity in the city and this is what the fashion festival does.” Carey said.

Carey said the state government was “bloody proud” of the Perth Fashion Festival and want it to succeed into the future.

“We have seen a major transformation of our city.” Carey said citing the development of Elizabeth Quay and Yagan Square as project’s Western Australian’s could see as evidence the city is changing. “We’ve have got a new museum that is being built. These are incredible things that our making our city a great destination to visit, to live and to play.”

Carey said the heart of a great city however was not in its public buildings but in it’s creative community. “People and the creative community give [the city] colour and interest, they connect people and they give a city a sense of place. The local member said that the local fashion industry gave the city “a soul”.

Carey also gave a shout out to the City of Perth Commissioners who have replaced the ousted Perth City Council saying they were doing a “ripper job” by backing the festival.

In May City of Perth staff had recommended a major cut to the festival’s funding suggesting the city give $50,000 of public funds to the event, rather than the $275,000 organisers were seeking. The commissioners decided to award $200,000 of funding to the event, but warned the festival not assume the same level of funding would be available in the future.

Following Carey’s enthusiastic address the crowd were treated to a catwalk display from local Perth designers.

The festival’s Creative Director Mariella Harvey-Hanrahan spoke to the crowd and said the festival’s 20th outing showed that the local industry was coming of age and competing on an international stage.

“We do have world class designers, world class models, in a world class stadium” Harvey -Hanrahan said, announcing that this year’s festival would be held at the Optus Studium on the Burswood Peninsula.

“Picture this, the Burswood Peninsula spectacularly lit up as our city’s skyline sparkles in the background, an iconic venue for an iconic year.” Harvey-Hanrahan said. “The city’s new home of sport and entertainment will be a brand new Fashion Paramount, the state of the art stadium at Burswood Peninsula will be transformed into an opulent fashion world oasis.

Harvey-Hanrahan said the 2018 Telstra Perth Fashion Festival would be the most exciting festival experience in history.

“Fashion lovers will be treated to the latest collections from some of the most prominent local, national and international designers.” Harvey-Hanrahan said noting that many of the international designers would be showing their work in Perth for the first time.

Boyd Brown, who was representing major sponsor Telstra at the launch, didn’t shy away from addressing the elephant in the room.  While references to the amazing new stadium on the Burswood Peninsula had been scattered throughout the presentations – nobody was saying it’s name.

“Let’s talk about that stadium.” Brown said to a peppering of nervous laughter. “I like to think of it as Perth Stadium” he continued, avoiding the name of major telco rival Optus, who have the naming rights on the venue.

“When you are sitting at the event and your looking around and you say ‘I wonder who built all this infrastructure, the comms, the connectivity with the lighting’ – one guess guys – yeah it was Telstra.” Brown said noting that Telstra’s team put 11,000 man hours into building the stadium.

The ten day festival will include an array of free and ticketed events that will take over the city from September 5-15. Signature runway events at the new-look Fashion Paramount at Optus Stadium will include the Opening Night event featuring top Australian designers including Dion Lee, Romance Was Born, One Fell Swoop and Morrison, and the festival’s Closing Night, which will toast the festival’s 20-year milestone through fashion and music.

Fashion Council WA’s Industry Forum will take the form of a high tea at QT Perth, while the Aboriginal Runway Djurip Djenna Kooling will showcase the incredible work of Indigenous artists to the public.

Emerging WA creatives will continue to have their work shared through Future Runway and NewGeneration. Fashion Central will return to the City of Perth’s Forrest Place for a weekend of free events, plus a cultural program bigger than ever before will extend beyond the Festival dates.

To buy tickets to the events head to the Telstra Perth Fashion Festival website.

Graeme Watson, with Tiffany Chow. Image of models by Stegan Gosatti

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